In 1991, comedian Bobcat Goldthwait made his directorial debut with the underrated (and underseen) Shakes the Clown, a vulgar and hilarious comedy that happened to include a cameo from Robin Williams. Almost two decades later (and after much more work as a director – though mostly in television) Goldthwait is back with World’s Greatest Dad, a critically well-received dark comedy starring Robin Williams. Along with the film’s release Goldthwait is “…really happy that I got to  put out a soundtrack.” Fans of the film will also be “really happy” with Goldthwait’s soundtrack.

The soundtrack opens with film dialogue in the track “Why Are We Listening To This?” in which Lance (Robin Williams) and his son Kyle (Daryl Sabara) are discussing their choice of music. In answer to the track’s title question, Lance responds, “Because I like Bruce Hornsby.” It’s an apt opening track considering that about a quarter of the album (four tracks to be exact) are Bruce Hornsby tunes, including “Invisible,” “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby,” “Shadow Hand,” and “Mandolin Rain.” Along with the five dialogue clips from the film, Bruce Hornsby’s music helps provide a through-line to the entire collection of music. And though Goldthwait is putting out a solid collection of music to supplement his high-quality film examining grief and mourning he’s just happy that Hornsby “…didn’t punch me right in the face after seeing the final product.” He’s even less likely to get punched in the face for his track selection.

Along with Hornsby’s four tracks, the rest of the music included here provides a melancholy sense of detachment, even in it’s more comedic moments – i.e. Tom Kenny and Jerry Brunskill’s “The Creeper.” Overall, this is a collection of rainy day tunes, personified by the subdued rhythms of Akron Family’s “Don’t Be Afraid, You’re Already Dead” as they repeatedly proclaim that “love is simple.” The artists on this album all seem to agree on musical tonality. From Inara George to Brenden Benson to Deadly Syndrome these are laid back soft rock performances. The inclusion of Peggy Lee’s “It’s a Good Day” is the only oddball, but really it’s just a different era (recorded in 1962) of soft rock that ultimately fits right in with the rest of the album.

Overall this is an enjoyable but not overly impressive collection of music. in my opinion the inclusion of film clips always seems to distract from the music of an album, and this album is no exception. The best track on here is Bruce Hornsby’s “Mandolin Rain” but the entire album is worth a listen.

Zach’s Rating: B+
Perfect For: Those that like to be reminded what film their soundtrack is from
Stay Away if: You’re expecting hilarity to ensue when you start this album

To purchase the soundtrack for World’s Greatest Dad, visit Amazon

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